Released on Friday 23 February 2023.
For fans of Tool, Opeth, Ulver, Meshuggah.
What the Five Fingers said to the Face (WTFFSTTF) is an Oslo-based progressive metal band from Norway who formed in 2011, they said, to create music/art as a form of expression, but also as spiritual practice and a tool for self-fulfilment. Endless (2023) is their fourth release and second full album.
Their story is a fascinating insight into the power of music to see life and the world in a different way. Writing about their recording experience for this record, the band speaks of experiencing their own music in terms of touching other levels of reality and almost channelling beings and ideas from that new reality. Beings that “created sounds that are seemingly there and not there at the same time. Something is speaking through these songs.”
Of course, like many bands over the last three years their lives and music have also been influenced by the trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic, the unexpected deaths of loved ones, and the need to heal from these events.
I have found over the years that I often procrastinate over writing reviews for the albums that most connect with me. It’s like coming to the end of a novel that you’ve loved reading, so you slow down, you read less each day to prolong the experience, you don’t want to let go of these characters quite yet. That was my experience writing this review… I’ll listen to it for just one more day… one more.
While I can see the similarities to Tool, Opeth, Ulver and Meshuggah, there is also a striking similarity in this album to later Celtic Frost—there is a power and a magnificence. This is art. This album is an event.
Wave after wave of throbbing bass, pounding drums and distorted guitars. As the storm swirls and rages it pulls you under to the calm, ethereal and other-worldliness beneath.
There are echoes too of Godflesh and Jesu—the immutable and the fleeting, dark and light, overpoweringly strong and fragile. The delicacy of “Spiraling” (track 7) is counterpointed by the ugly, complex chords of “RAW” (track 8) in which the beauty of the melody fights to be heard. If that isn’t a metaphor for the pandemic, then nothing is.
The band hopes that, “for those with the eyes to see and ears to hear it” this album can serve as a manual for how to heal.
This album has been a companion to me over the last few weeks, a background to trauma, a path into healing, a heartbeat, the whispering voice of hope, a tapestry in which to weave my own desires and let go of pain. This is an extraordinary work of art.
Review score: 100%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview What the Five Fingers said to the Face’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or What the Five Fingers said to the Face. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to What the Five Fingers said to the Face for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.